I haven't posted anything since my Big Horn DNF, though I do want to thank all of you who read that post and offered up your own comments and support. I've been running ultra's for the better part of a decade now. They're not getting any easier. I've DNF'd before, it happens, I'm still sour over how easy it was. Still sour at myself for being so willing to quit. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I could have finished the race.. and I should of.
But it's in moments like these that you continue to reflect, pick yourself up, and try to offer yourself some direction. My life is about to change dramatically in the coming weeks, as Sarah and I welcome our first child (our Son Carter) into the world. The Wasatch 100 is scheduled for 2 or 3 weeks after Carter's due date. It wouldn't be fair of me to leave home for 4 or 5 days to run another 100, albeit a tougher one, out in Utah while Sarah takes care of our newborn. I honestly don't think I'd want to be away for that long.. missing out on precious unrepeatable moments.. missing my family. So it was with regret, though an easy decision, to once again withdraw my entry from The Wasatch 100 (1st time in 2010).
Training for 100 milers takes a LOT of commitment. Let's face it, this is a demanding sport. Each race takes quite a bit of your time to train for. Especially 100 milers, where your long runs are 7-12 hours in length; taking your entire Saturday or Sunday away from your family. This is a selfish sport, no two ways about it. A lot of folks still aren't willing to admit this. I am. It's a selfish sport and I've been very selfish. Some say that the Front Runners make huge sacrifices to be as good as they are. And you're right.. there's a reason many of them are between girlfriends all the time, or single. I'm not planning to be one of them. And I'll add.. that us mid and back-of-the-pack runners sacrifice just as much, if not more, then they.
So I thought further. It was amazing to see those 50K and 50 Mile runners crossing that finish line at the Big Horn 100. They all looked so happy, fulfilled, accomplished. Then you looked around at the 100 milers who looked tired, wrecked, sullen. I asked myself at that moment.. "Why do I do this? Especially when I have nothing left to prove. I have no reason to do this." I can think of some new reasons.. but I don't need to relay those reasons during a 100 mile event.
I look back on my track record of performances. Good times I had. Bad races I've had. I can't think of a single "bad" 50K or 50 Miler. I've always enjoyed myself at those races. Always got my fix. Ran my miles and enjoyed the hell out of the company on the trail. After these shorter races, you get to go home and be in bed at night. Nestled up against your loved one.. rather then running all night wondering if you're going to make it. I can train for 50K and 50 Milers. In fact.. I'd say that my training for those distance events has been spot on for the last 3 years.. while I've struggled to train for 100 and in turn, have struggled to the finish line. I don't care to be "great" out there, or to break records or run up front. But I do know that my enjoyment of this sport, and my overall level of fatigue, has grown over the last couple of years.
I remember my attempt at the Grand Slam in 2010. Hell, I ran Western States as the first part of my honeymoon (There's the selfishness again). After timing out in Leadville, I remember being relieved because of how wrecked I was. How tired to the core I had grown. I just wanted to go home. I never trained enough to take on the Grand Slam that year. I've admitted that in the past. In turn, I've been tired and burnt out instead. I should have listened to Phil Rosenstein, a fellow ultra runner friend, who told me himself to not even bother trying to run the Grand Slam because, "It will burn you out." He was right.. I was stubborn, selfish. I've yet to recover from the Grand Slam of 2010... I'm still running on E.
And so.. I look to the future. I'm going to continue to be a member of this community. Creating Fat Ass event and Journey Runs here on the Front Range. My plan is to continue to run 50K's and 50 Milers and really just enjoying my time in the sport. I can train for these kinds of events. Running keeps me healthy, both mentally and physically. Part of me thinks/knows that I need this. I need to stay alive. But I think that's what it comes down to. AJ Wellman asked me an important question when we were running the Grand Canyon, and I've asked it to myself and many others since based solely on it's brilliance; "Are you living or Alive?"
With that, I'm switching gears. I'll still be out there. I've given up on my dream of running the Hardrock 100 as I don't think I'll ever get in. I'm running 50K's and 50 Milers for awhile.. and plan to return to the Vermont 100 in 2013 to wear Bib #100 for the 5th time, so I can get my 5x finishers award back home. I hope to bring some Coloradans out there with me. Until then.. see you on the trails!